Government consultant Robert Musumeci and former Parliamentary Secretary Deborah Schembri, who was responsible for the Lands Authority until 2017, pocketed some €200,000 in two years from direct orders given by the same Authority.
In 2019, the former parliamentary secretary was given a direct order of €12,047 to provide legal services to the government’s administrator of public land, and another €45,112 through RD Legal – a partnership she formed with Musumeci in the same year, according to information published in the Government Gazette.
The partnership is registered at Musumeci’s office in Siggiewi.
In 2020, the legal partnership fared better than the previous year with the Lands Authority paying RD Legal a staggering €140,000 in fees.
Collaboration between Deborah Schembri and Robert Musumeci dates back to when the former parliamentary secretary assumed political office.
Prior to the 2017 elections, Schembri, in her role as Junior Minister, had employed Musumeci as her personal consultant on a reform of what was then the Lands Department following the corruption exposed in the Gaffarena Old Mint Street scandal.
Musumeci was one of Schembri’s closest collaborators and had led the drafting of a new law establishing an ‘independent’ Lands Authority.
After failing to be re-elected in the 2017 elections, Schembri immediately joined forces with Musumeci who had just graduated as a lawyer a year earlier.
Apart from their joint legal partnership, both Schembri and Musumeci were showered with consultancies and direct orders by the current Labour administration.
Both Musumeci and Schembri were given other jobs, including by the Planning Authority and many Ministries to act as consultants or advisors, receiving additional tens of thousands of euro.
Musumeci is also regularly appointed as a ‘court expert’ by certain magistrates handling inquiries or other cases.
Led by James Piscopo, the former CEO of the Labour Party, the direct orders list include €13,200 to Vince Marmara, the Labour Party’s pollster to act as a statistics consultant; €9,100 to Anita Aloisio, a former partner at the now defunct Nexia BT, to provide financial advice; and €7,224 to Mad Promotions, an events company owned by Byon Jo Zammit, a former cameraman at the Labour Party’s TV station.
Dalli Associates, a legal firm co-owned by Luke Dalli, the son of European Commissioner Helena Dalli made €44,000 over two years.
Matthew Bondin, a young lawyer who used to work at the legal office of Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis, pocketed €82,000 for his legal advice.
Last November, due to the ongoing pandemic, Ozo Malta received a direct order of almost €17,000 for sanitization of the Auberge de Bavier, the Lands Authority’s office. The company is co-owned by the Zammit Tabona family,
When James Piscopo was appointed CEO of the Authority in 2018, it was revealed that he was a business partner in companies owned by the Zammit Tabonas. Following these revelations, Piscopo said he had sold his shares in these business ventures.
Last December, following revelations that the police were looking into claims that Piscopo was allegedly taking commissions from public road projects during his time at the helm of Transport Malta, he announced his resignation.
Piscopo had denied media reports stating the claims were relayed to journalists by Keith Schembri, the former chief of staff of Joseph Muscat, via Yorgen Fenech who is accused of commissioning journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
No arrests or prosecutions were made following these claims.